Thursday, November 3, 2022
We know that public health interventions work. Yet, in the wake of COVID-19, more than half of U.S. states have passed legislation that restricts public health officials from taking actions to protect the health of their communities. Our latest report, as part of the Act for Public Health initiative, examines laws impacting public health authority that have been passed as of May 20, 2022 and provides analysis of how they significantly weaken the collective ability of public health to respond effectively in future pandemics and other emergencies, and to carry out day-to-day public health activities.
Laws that Criminalize Paraphernalia Increase Drug-Related Harm and Should Be Repealed
Every state except Alaska penalizes the possession or distribution of syringes, pipes, and other objects associated with the use of certain drugs. This leads to people sharing and re-using syringes, which can spread bloodborne diseases like HIV and hepatitis. Paraphernalia laws represent outdated ideas about punitive versus harm reduction approaches to substance use, and it’s long past time to change this failed policy approach and adopt laws designed to improve the health of people who use drugs.
Let’s Talk Money: Barriers and Benefits of Investment in Public Health
Public health interventions are chronically underfunded, in significant part because policymakers are often reluctant to adopt policies necessary to fund them. Much of this reluctance can be attributed to the fact that returns on investment (ROIs) for public health interventions, while substantial, are difficult to accurately predict and are often realized many years down the line. Decision-makers and funders at all levels of government, and the public, need a mindset shift toward recognizing the long-term value of public health investments, and public health professionals can use advocacy to help them do so.
Post-Dobbs Abortion Access Routes: A Primer
In light of the withdrawal of federal rights to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022) and restrictive state abortion laws, this Primer (1) describes a series of “open door” legal pathways to access abortion services in the U.S., (2) explains who may be able to utilize a specific pathway to access abortion services, and (3) delineates various actual or potential limitations related to accessing abortions via each pathway.
Pathways to Yes: A legal framework for achieving data sharing for health, well-being, and equity
Co-authored by the Network and Data Across Sectors for Health, this guide is designed for entities that want to share data but don’t know how or where to begin the process; as well as those that have run into obstacles in their data-sharing planning; including the “culture of ‘no’,” a factor that inhibits or prohibits data sharing based on an incomplete understanding of when and how laws (particularly health data privacy laws) permit data sharing.
“I Want to Say ‘Yes,’ But…”— A Webinar for Lawyers Advising Data-Sharing Efforts
November 30, 2022 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. EST
Often, a data-sharing project doesn’t come to an attorney’s attention until the attorney is asked to draft or review a data sharing agreement. By then, the project proponents are invested in the project’s success, making it difficult to then advise them that the law does not permit sharing the data. But might it? Could you help recraft the data sharing plan to fit within the constraints of the law? We invite you to a webinar for lawyers by lawyers who have navigated these data-sharing waters.
Reproductive Health and Data in a Post-Roe World
December 7, 2022 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. EST
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization upended 50 years of U.S. Supreme Court precedent protecting reproductive rights. Since the decision, significant state-level activity has impacted reproductive health care access, expanding access in some states and curtailing it in others. Considerable concern has arisen regarding the privacy of reproductive health records and data, especially regarding law enforcement access to records in states adverse to abortion rights. Join us for a discussion of the emerging legal landscape following this landmark decision, potential remaining legal pathways to health care access, and implications for reproductive health data privacy and data sharing.
The Network at the 2022 APHA Annual Meeting & Expo
November 6-9, 2022
Visit the Network booth at the 2022 APHA Annual Meeting to learn about our latest resources and Act for Public Health, an initiative with our partner organizations that provides direct assistance to departments of health in navigating proposed and passed legislation limiting their ability to protect the communities they serve.
Network attorneys presenting at APHA include:
Reflections on the Significance of the Health Equity Tracker
The Network’s Southeastern Region Director, Dawn M. Hunter, authored the following piece on the importance of the Health Equity Tracker tool. The Health Equity Tracker is a user-friendly tool to identify health disparities, compare health outcomes, and explore relationships between different health topics. Since its launch, the Tracker has expanded its data sets to create a more comprehensive picture of health and draw connections across a diverse set of health topics to support transformational change. Read the full article here.
Senior Attorney, Health and Racial Equity Focus
The Network is seeking a Public Health Senior Attorney to help advance its health and racial equity work. While the position will work on a wide variety of public health law topics, it will primarily focus on addressing health and racial equity through law and policy. Projects may include research and analysis of racism and other forms of structural discrimination in law and policy, as well as strategies, frameworks, and tools that can be used or implemented by partners engaged in health and racial equity work. This position is expected to be fully remote. View the full description and apply here.
Senior Attorney, Reproductive Health
The Network is seeking a Public Health Senior Attorney to lead and coordinate our expanding work in reproductive health, coordinating work across the Network’s five Region Offices. This position will track and assess laws, provide legal technical assistance, conduct training, develop tools and educational materials, and facilitate opportunities for networking and peer assistance. The successful candidate will have excellent legal research, writing, and public speaking skills, excellent organizational skills, a demonstrated commitment to health equity and social justice, and the ability to create and maintain partnerships and collaborative relationships with a wide variety of individuals and communities. View the full description and apply here.
Senior Technical Advisor – Overdose Prevention Program
Vital Strategies funds projects and provides technical assistance in addressing the overdose epidemic on the ground in specific U.S. states and is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Senior Technical Advisor for the Overdose Prevention Program. The Senior Technical Advisor will lead program planning and implementation activities related to technical interventions for reducing overdose deaths. The position is based in New York City where a hybrid office schedule is in place.
Your interest in the work of the Network is important. Together, we can advance law as a tool to improve public health. Please forward the Network Report and encourage others to join the Network!
The Network for Public Health Law provides information and technical assistance on issues related to public health. The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.